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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Procreate

How to Make a Watercolor Brush in Procreate

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Ever wanted to make your own custom watercolor brush in Procreate but had no idea where to start? In this tutorial we will be learning how to build a basic watercolor brush from scratch, which will give you the foundation to start creating the watercolor brushes that you've always dreamed of.

We'll be discovering how to edit the shape and grain of the brush, as well as how to adjust the brush settings to fine-tune it to your personal tastes. We will also be looking at how we could use this brush in an illustration. 

If you're also looking for some ready-to-use watercolor Procreate brushes, we've got you covered! Check out the links at the end of this tutorial for some of my favourite premium watercolor brushes for Procreate from Envato Elements.

watercolor brushes for procreate on envato elementswatercolor brushes for procreate on envato elementswatercolor brushes for procreate on envato elements
Get these watercolor brushes for Procreate for your digital projects from Envato Elements.

Do you prefer video tutorials? If you're a visual person, then you'll love this new video from the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel. Watch me work and learn how to make a watercolor brush in Procreate (as well as various other brushes) by following this video tutorial:

What You'll Learn in This Watercolor Brush Procreate Tutorial

  • How to create a watercolor brush in Procreate from scratch
  • How to use a watercolor brush in Procreate

1. How to Create a Watercolor Brush in Procreate From Scratch

Step 1

In this watercolor brush Procreate tutorial, I'm using an iPad Pro, an Apple Pencil, and the Procreate 5.2 app.

To begin, open up Procreate and tap the + icon in the top-right corner to create a new canvas. This will allow you to access the Brush Library. You can find this by clicking on the brush icon on the top right side of the screen.

screenshot of the procreate canvas screen with the brush icon selectedscreenshot of the procreate canvas screen with the brush icon selectedscreenshot of the procreate canvas screen with the brush icon selected

Step 2

Press the + icon in the top right corner of the Brush Library menu to create a new brush and open the Brush Studio.

a screenshot of the brush library with the plus icon circled in reda screenshot of the brush library with the plus icon circled in reda screenshot of the brush library with the plus icon circled in red
a screenshot of the opening screen of the Brush Studioa screenshot of the opening screen of the Brush Studioa screenshot of the opening screen of the Brush Studio

Step 3

Click on the Shape section of the menu on the left side of the screen and then press the Edit button, which is at the top of the screen above the white circle. This will open the Shape Editor. This is where you can change the shape of the brush tip.

screenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the edit button circled in redscreenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the edit button circled in redscreenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the edit button circled in red

Click on the Import button in the top-right corner and select Source Library from the dropdown menu. You could also use one of the other options if you would like to import your own shape design or one that you have downloaded online.

screenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the import button circled in redscreenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the import button circled in redscreenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the import button circled in red
screenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the Source Library option circled in redscreenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the Source Library option circled in redscreenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the Source Library option circled in red

Select the shape you would like to use for your watercolor brush. I selected Ink 2 due to its loose and textured appearance. Press Done in the top-right corner of the Shape Editor window to apply the new shape to the brush.

screenshot of the Procreate Source Library with the 'Ink 2' shape circled in redscreenshot of the Procreate Source Library with the 'Ink 2' shape circled in redscreenshot of the Procreate Source Library with the 'Ink 2' shape circled in red
screenshot of the Shape page within the Procreate Brush Libraryscreenshot of the Shape page within the Procreate Brush Libraryscreenshot of the Shape page within the Procreate Brush Library

Step 4

Click on the Grain Source section of the Brush Studio menu and press the Edit button above the blank white square. This will open the Grain Editor. The Grain is the texture which sits inside the shape of the brush, so editing this will change the appearance of the fill.

screenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the edit button circled in redscreenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the edit button circled in redscreenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the edit button circled in red

Select one of the Image source options and choose the texture you would like to apply to your brush. I selected Import a file and uploaded this chalkboard texture which can be downloaded from Envato Elements.

green chalkboard texturegreen chalkboard texturegreen chalkboard texture
screenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the import a file option circled in redscreenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the import a file option circled in redscreenshot of the Procreate Brush Library with the import a file option circled in red

The texture will now replace the white box, and Procreate will automatically convert it into black and white. The image needs to be a seamless pattern (or the edges will show up as straight lines when using the brush). Click Auto repeat in the top right of the screen to begin this process. 

screenshot of the brush source screen 'Auto Repeat' circled in redscreenshot of the brush source screen 'Auto Repeat' circled in redscreenshot of the brush source screen 'Auto Repeat' circled in red

The size that the texture will appear within the brush can be edited by using the Grain scale slider. I chose to leave this setting at 1. Press Done to create the seamless pattern.

screenshot of the auto repeat screenscreenshot of the auto repeat screenscreenshot of the auto repeat screen

The texture is now applied to the brush stroke. The Drawing Pad on the right can be used at any time to test out your brush as you play around with the settings.

screenshot of the Brush Studio with the texture applied to the brush strokescreenshot of the Brush Studio with the texture applied to the brush strokescreenshot of the Brush Studio with the texture applied to the brush stroke

Step 4

Now it's time to tweak the individual brush settings. All of these settings will be set at default values when creating a new brush, the red circles highlight the settings that I have changed.

First I select the Stroke path section of the menu down the left side of the screen. I chose to set the Spacing (which controls the gap between each 'stamp' of your brush shape) to 6% and the Jitter (this offsets each stamp of your brush along the path by a random amount) to 10%.

screenshot of the stroke path menu with percentages circled in redscreenshot of the stroke path menu with percentages circled in redscreenshot of the stroke path menu with percentages circled in red

Step 5

Next I select the Taper section and drag the Pressure slider to none (the amount of artificial taper at the beginning and end of each stroke).

screenshot of the taper section of the Brush Studio with 'none' circled on the pressure settingscreenshot of the taper section of the Brush Studio with 'none' circled on the pressure settingscreenshot of the taper section of the Brush Studio with 'none' circled on the pressure setting

Step 6

I then select the Shape section of the menu and tap the Randomised switch to set it to the on position. (This randomises the rotation of each shape within your brush stroke, making each stroke slightly different from the one before it.)

screenshot of the shape section of the brush library with the randomised button selectedscreenshot of the shape section of the brush library with the randomised button selectedscreenshot of the shape section of the brush library with the randomised button selected

Step 7

Next I head to the Grain section of the menu and set the Movement (set lower for more drag and a smeared effect, and higher for a roller effect) to 58%, the Scale (adjusts the size of the texture within the shape) to 59%, and the Rotation (smears the grain image based on directional stroke changes) to -100%.

screenshot of the grain section of the Brush Library menu with various values circled in redscreenshot of the grain section of the Brush Library menu with various values circled in redscreenshot of the grain section of the Brush Library menu with various values circled in red

Step 8

Then I head to the Rendering section of the menu and select Light Glaze as the Rendering mode as this best replicates the behaviour of real watercolor paint. (These modes control the heaviness of paint laid down on the canvas, with Light Glaze being the most opaque and washed out.)

screenshot of the rendering section of the Brush Library with 'Light Glaze' circled in redscreenshot of the rendering section of the Brush Library with 'Light Glaze' circled in redscreenshot of the rendering section of the Brush Library with 'Light Glaze' circled in red

Step 9

Next I select the Wet Mix section of the menu and adjust the Charge (sets the amount of paint that is applied to the brush when you begin to make a stroke) to Disabled and the Pull (the strength of how the brush will pull paint around the canvas) to 90%.

screenshot of the wet mix section of the Brush Library with values circled in redscreenshot of the wet mix section of the Brush Library with values circled in redscreenshot of the wet mix section of the Brush Library with values circled in red

Step 10

I then tap the Apple Pencil section of the menu and set the Size (adjusts the size of the brush tip under varying pressure) to 37%, the Opacity (adjusts the transparency range of the brush under varying pressure) to None, the Flow (sets the amount of paint the brush lays down under varying pressure) to Max, and the Bleed (adjusts how much the brush edges bleed into the canvas under varying pressure) to 6%.

screenshot of the apple pencil section of the Brush Studio with various values circled in redscreenshot of the apple pencil section of the Brush Studio with various values circled in redscreenshot of the apple pencil section of the Brush Studio with various values circled in red

Scrolling further down the Apple Pencil section, I set the Gradation (creates a softening effect when shading with the brush at an angle) to Max, the Bleed (sets the amount the brush will bleed around the edges when tilted) to 11%, and the Size (adjusts the effect of tilt on the thickness of brushstrokes) to 34%.

screenshot of the Apple Pencil section of the Brush Library with various values circled in redscreenshot of the Apple Pencil section of the Brush Library with various values circled in redscreenshot of the Apple Pencil section of the Brush Library with various values circled in red

Step 11

I then move on to the Properties section of the menu, and set the Smudge (sets how much a brush smudges when used as the Smudge tool) to 70% and the Maximum size (sets the upper size limit of the brush) to Max.

screenshot of the Properties section of the Brush Studio with values circled in redscreenshot of the Properties section of the Brush Studio with values circled in redscreenshot of the Properties section of the Brush Studio with values circled in red

Step 12

Finally I select the About this brush section and rename my brush by tapping on the area of text circled in red. I also add my name and signature to the section directly below this, which is useful for retaining credit if you are planning to share the brush online.

screenshot of the About this brush section of the Brush Library with the brush name circled in redscreenshot of the About this brush section of the Brush Library with the brush name circled in redscreenshot of the About this brush section of the Brush Library with the brush name circled in red

The finished brush is now complete! In the following section I will be showing an example of how I like to use watercolor brushes like this one within my own work.

a peach coloured watercolor brush swatcha peach coloured watercolor brush swatcha peach coloured watercolor brush swatch

2. How to Create a Watercolor Brush in Procreate From Scratch

One of my favourite ways to use Procreate watercolor brushes is to add texture and depth to backgrounds. This is a really quick and easy way of levelling up a plain coloured background. I'm going to use the drawing below as an example of how this can add another layer of interest and dimension to a drawing.

drawing of a girl surrounded by leaves on a plain peach backgrounddrawing of a girl surrounded by leaves on a plain peach backgrounddrawing of a girl surrounded by leaves on a plain peach background

Step 1

I begin by selecting my brush at a large size and choosing a darker version of the background colour. I then use a light amount of pressure to begin to build up colour directly behind my character, blending outwards towards the outer area of the canvas. I apply the most pressure in the centre and lessen this as I move outwards.

image of a girl surrounded by leaves on a peach coloured background with a light wash of darker peach watercolor paint behind herimage of a girl surrounded by leaves on a peach coloured background with a light wash of darker peach watercolor paint behind herimage of a girl surrounded by leaves on a peach coloured background with a light wash of darker peach watercolor paint behind her

Step 2

I continue this process until the darker colour and watercolor texture are clearly visible, with the most colour concentrated in the middle, which then fades out towards the edges. 

The background is now complete! 

Now We're Finished!

Thank you for following this tutorial with me, and I hope you have lots of fun creating a watercolor brush for yourself!

image of a girl surrounded by leaves on a peach coloured background with a wash of darker peach watercolor paint behind herimage of a girl surrounded by leaves on a peach coloured background with a wash of darker peach watercolor paint behind herimage of a girl surrounded by leaves on a peach coloured background with a wash of darker peach watercolor paint behind her

5 Top Procreate Watercolor Brush Sets From Envato Elements

Now that you know how to use create your own custom watercolor brushes from scratch, you can check out our premade digital watercolor brushes for a stress-free option or to help inspire your own designs. If you use Procreate and other design software on a daily basis, Envato Elements is a fantastic option for you.

The subscription-based marketplace offers you unlimited Procreate brush sets, add-ons for Photoshop and Illustrator, premium fonts, and more! Everything is included for a flat monthly fee.

If you'd like to explore more premium watercolor brushes for Procreate, here we have five top options:

1. Watercolor Procreate Brushes (BRUSHSET)

watercolor brush set cover imagewatercolor brush set cover imagewatercolor brush set cover image

This set includes 22 beautiful, realistic-looking digital watercolor brushes and includes line, fill, splatter, blending, and stamp brushes. This is the perfect comprehensive watercolor kit for all of your painting needs.

2. Soft Watercolor Procreate Brushes (BRUSHSET)

soft watercolor procreate brush cover imagesoft watercolor procreate brush cover imagesoft watercolor procreate brush cover image

Check out these ultra-realistic Procreate brushes, which will help you make beautiful watercolor artwork on your iPad. This set includes 17 watercolor brushes, 19 watercolor stamp brushes, 5 canvases, 16 color palettes, and 4 video tutorials.

3. Aquarelle Watercolor: Procreate Brushes (BRUSHSET)

aquarelle watercolor procreate brushes cover imageaquarelle watercolor procreate brushes cover imageaquarelle watercolor procreate brushes cover image

This Aquarelle watercolor brush set features 16 realistic texture brushes. These digital watercolor brushes are perfect for children's illustrations, watercolor illustrations, and hand lettering. The set includes five paper textures, ideal for aquarelle/watercolor drawing!

4. Procreate Watercolor Brush Set (BRUSHSET)

Procreate watercolor brush set cover imageProcreate watercolor brush set cover imageProcreate watercolor brush set cover image

Containing 38 brushes, this pack is perfect for creating stunning prints, wedding invitations and cards, cosmetic branding and packaging, social media graphics and anything else you can dream of. The digital watercolor brushes are perfect for beginners who want to try out watercolor painting on the iPad.

5. Procreate Watercolour Brushes (BRUSHSET)

Procreate watercolour brushes cover imageProcreate watercolour brushes cover imageProcreate watercolour brushes cover image

Let's finish our roundup with this comprehensive set of 50 watercolor brushes for Procreate. Choose from a large selection of realistic brushes, textures, and more. Making digital artwork has never been easier!

Discover More Amazing Procreate Tutorials and Resources

If you liked this watercolor brush Procreate tutorial, make sure to visit these other amazing Procreate tutorials and resources from Envato Tuts+:

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